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July 1969

Psychosocial Response to Vasectomy

Author Affiliations

Cleveland; San Diego, Calif
From the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland (Drs. Ziegler and Rodgers), and from the University of California, San Diego (Dr. Prentiss).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;21(1):46-54. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740190048006

MEN electing vasectomy for contraception and their wives were studied with interviews, psychological tests, and questionnaires over a four-year period beginning prior to surgery. They were compared to ovulation-suppression-using couples. After four years, the two groups did not differ significantly in frequency of intercourse or other sexual behavior, changes in sexual problems, emotional adjustment, or changes in marital satisfaction. Consistent with earlier evaluations, the vasectomy men showed evidence of a counteractive reaction to threats to masculinity with an increase in masculinity-confirming behavior. The study procedures probably attenuated adverse psychological reactions. Other men not interviewed showed psychological test evidence of emotional upset following vasectomy. Suggestions are made concerning selection of appropriate subjects for the operation, and for other contraception methods, and concerning appropriate procedures to reduce risk of negative postvasectomy emotional reactions.

Voluntary male sterilization, vasectomy, has not been an unusual method of contraception

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